This past weekend I took a trip to collect a dead deer off a friend’s land in the mountains. A gorgeous 8 point buck had died behind an abandoned trailer on his property and nature had cleaned it up. It had almost zero smell and was ready to collect. My friend is a photographer and you can see his photos here: Killbox on Flickr.
Dead Deer Harvest Tutorial
The harvest consisted of trying to scrape off the left over flesh from the forehead with a hunting knife, and trying to separate the head from the spine with a hatchet. It was so dry that both these attempts failed. Instead, I ended up twisting the skull around and around until it broke free of the spine. Then, I wrapped up the head in three trash bags and secured them with duct tape around the base of the antlers. I did not tape the antlers, but wrapped the bags around the base.
At home I cut a hole through all three layers and poured half a cup of water into the outer bag. I resealed this outer bag’s hole with duct tape and place the head in full sun. This will sweat the leftover flesh and hopefully loosen it enough to pry off with some pliers in a month or two. If it fails to loosen it enough the next plan is to bury the head in some manure in full sun for several months next summer.
Meeting the Neighbor
While there I met the property neighbor. I had accidentally driven past my friend’s place and into the neighboring property. He came out to make sure I wasn’t a hooligan and we got to talking about my bone art. I learned that his wife is also a photographer and he is a cook. He gave me some spice to use with our next hamburger based meal and I cannot wait to try it. I might be creating some antler art for their future mountain cabin! Exciting times. They are both very sweet people and I was glad I had driven too far to alert him otherwise we would not have met. I love when adventures bring out cool people to meet and network with.